Anyone who has known me for any length of time knows one thing: I love my sleep. I went roughly 40 years without feeling the pinch of a sleepless night (I loved my sleep from day one!). But the few times I had one, like most people, I turned up cranky and dragging the next morning. Caffeine would be a temporary fix, but I would spend the entire day focused on one thing: getting back to bed. Anything (or anyone, sadly) who kept me from that goal ran the risk of feeling the sting of my exhaustion through my words and tone.
These have not been my best moments.
Then I had surgery that, due to the discovery of cancer, included a hysterectomy, and the entrance of my new friend, the Hot Flash. Hot flashes are disconcerting, when you first begin to have them, and they definitely disturb your sleep, as does the post-surgery requirement that you sleep on your back. (I’m a fully-committed side-sleeper.) Then came chemotherapy, which took my hot flashes to soaring heights and gave birth to a host of odd side effects that were worst for me during, you guessed it, the night. (The stinging and burning neuropathy in my hands wins the prize for Best Sleep Disturber.) Combine this with an eight-week surgery recovery, and I’m sure you can imagine my heart-struggle: While it was medically necessary that I get the sleep I so adored, it was also virtually impossible.
I cried a lot during this season.
Do I still love sleep? You bet. Nothing feels quite as good as slipping into fresh sheets in fresh pajamas. But the Lord used the five months of surgery and chemo to expose this as an idol, something I desired more than almost anything else and went to great lengths to acquire. He brought me to the end of myself (again!) to show me how deeply dependent I am on Him, for every single thing I need–even rest. He taught me that my real need was to press into His grace and mercy, every single day. He taught me that my greatest rest would come by resting in His perfect sovereignty.
And He did it just in time to bless us with a tiny baby boy.
A few nights ago, at 3:27AM, I found myself in a familiar spot: the soft, warm glow of a lamp washing over me, as I gently rocked our newborn son. I adore everything about him: his sweet scent, his perfect features, his delicate fingers and toes, how heavy he becomes as he drifts to sleep after a bottle. The reality of dependence live and breathes in this tiny boy. He can meet none of his own needs; we must meet them for him. And while my husband and I will never be able to be perfect parents for him (because we’re human!), we can rest assured that God our Father is the perfect parent, meeting all of our needs as they arise, sometimes in surprising and unexpected ways. This makes being dependent on Him a joy, not drudgery . . . restful, not exhausting . . . fulfilling, not draining.
My prayer is that our sweet boy will grow to know the Lord this way, and to rest in Him always.